Paint-store manager awarded 18 months’ notice

Neilipovitz v. ICI Paints (Canada) Inc., 114 A.C.W.S. (3d) 70 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Neilipovitz began working for St. Clair Paint, a predecessor company of ICI Paints, in 1978. She became manager of a store in 1986. In 1990 the stores were sold to St. Clair – Colour Your World. The defendant, ICI, purchased some of the assets of St. Clair – Colour Your World in 1997, including the store the plaintiff managed. ICI offered Neilipovitz employment at the same salary — an offer she accepted. One month later she was dismissed without cause.

She received severance in accordance with the previous St. Clair – Colour Your World termination policy. The plaintiff sought damages for wrongful dismissal claiming she was not bound by the previous policy.

The court held ICI was bound by the successor provisions of the Employment Standards Act and therefore Neilipovitz was deemed to be an employee of ICI for the full 18 years she had been employed for statutory severance purposes.

The court further held the plaintiff had not accepted a new offer of employment which included the previous St. Clair – Colour Your World termination policy. Although ICI’s offer of employment included a list of questions and answers which stated that if employment was terminated without cause, termination pay and severance would be based on the previous St. Clair – Colour Your World termination policy, the court held she was not bound by this policy because:

•the policy was not in effect when she started working in 1978 but rather became a policy after the merger of St. Clair and Colour Your World in 1995;

•she had no knowledge of the policy; and

•ICI never obtained her acceptance of this policy as part of her new employment. The court concluded she was entitled to 18 months’ notice.

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